Conference hashtags confuse everybody

Whether there is an official arbiter to offer a final pronouncement, or whether there isn’t, one things appears to be true: conference hashtags confuse everybody.

As I will be taking a professional interest in the European Association for the Study of Diabetes‘ meeting in Vienna later this month, I thought I would make some preparations. You know, create a Twibbon for EASD attendees, follow the official EASD Twitter account, and so on.

That’s where the trouble began, of course, for as the unsuccessful quest portrayed above courtesy of the fantastic screenr (whose services you may find useful, and who are worth a follow on Twitter themselves) shows, the EASD does not have a Twitter account. The EASD has over 6,400 members. I have a sneaking suspicion that seeing as many of them take the trouble to trek to wherever the annual scientific meeting is being held, there’s more than an outside chance that they may like to talk to each other for more than 4 days a year.

As PharmaGossip was kind enough to point out, the EASD’s Executive Council (along with innumerable other societies) could do worse than thinking about enlisting someone’s services (ahem :)) to help them out.

So, where does the status-updating EASD delegate turn in order to figure out what the conference hashtag is going to be? I’d proposed #EASD09, but as Sally Church pointed out, there are those delegates that find adding a year to a hashtag onerous and irritating, not to mention redundant on the basis that hashtags do not currently have a long enough shelf life to mean that next year’s posts need to be distinguished from the current year’s.

I thought I’d poll opinion to see if there was a general consensus either way. Intriguingly, with 36 votes cast at the time of writing, there’s nothing of the sort.

So, where do we go with this? One thing’s for sure (apart from Phil Baumann having gone all hashtag stir-crazy): #ECCO15ESMO34 has to be the worst. Hashtag. Ever.

3 thoughts on “Conference hashtags confuse everybody

  1. I was happily tweeting from the conference with #easd09 and also cross posting to students on our course at Cardiff with #pddcf

    It did seem like a one-way conversation but I found the discipline of summarizing a poster or a discussion into less than 140 characters quite liberating.

    I don’t think there should be an official arbiter of conference tags it should be an emergent phenomenon as that way it will have more stability. It is confusing though especially in niches where there social networking is not prominent … e.g. the EASD meeting. With 17000+ delegates it did seem there were very few tweeters other than ‘news agencies’.

    There were a few though …

    and listeners (of course!)

  2. Hi Dean

    Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences at EASD.

    With your permission, I’d like to quote your comment in a piece I am currently preparing that will appear in a published report on EASD.

    Is that OK with you?

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